I am not a huge fan of eating energy or protein bars as a meal replacement or as a snack between meals. For my taste they tend to be too rich, too sweet, or have too much protein or too many calories or contain energy additives I am not particular interested in consuming. I will stick to my daily doses of caffeine, thank you very much.
The RDI (recommended daily intake) of protein is 0.8g/kilogram. For a person weighing 75kg (165lbs) that's about 60gr a day. A single food item containing 25gr of protein contains 40% of the RDI all by itself. Getting enough protein in the diet is not a problem for many people living in places where protein bars can easily be purchased.
Enter Phyter bars. These are vegan, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO, and kosher. The are not raw which is a bonus in my view as cooking many ingredients is a good thing and in this case is key to their flavor appeal and texture.
Each 50gr bar (they come in five flavors) is 200 calories or less, is sweetened with coconut sugar which has a glycemic index of 35 with a total sugar content of between 7-9gr, and provides about 10% of the RDI for protein for a person weighing 70kg. The ingredients labels are clean and easy to read, but it is the flavor combinations that sets Phyter bars apart from other offerings in this space that I am aware of:
- Berries and Peanut Butter
- Butternut Squash and Peanut Butter
- Kale and Apple
- Sweet Potato and Coconut
- Beet and Cocoa (You are reading that right – beets and cocoa!)
When I was contacted by the PR company they were pushing the kale with apple flavor. But what caught my eye – and connected the bars to TheChocolateLife – was the beet and cocoa flavor, which I saved for last. (In fact, I ate it while writing this review.) The flavors are mostly very obvious in a very good way. The apple and kale bar tastes like apple and not so much like kale with the pumpkin and flax seeds providing a necessary crunchy element. The beet and cocoa bar has a delicate cocoa taste with the beet puree providing a nice roundness without contributing an obvious flavor of beets – which I happen to like but I know many people do not. None of the flavors is overly sweet, at least to my palate. You could give any of these to kids who say they don't like veggies without telling them what was in them (the first time) and they would probably like them. As a father of picky eaters I can see a lot of value in this potential.
Every bar has a textural balance between chewy and crunchy that is quite pleasant and there are no off flavors or aftertaste or fats that coat the mouth and do not clear cleanly.
While all five flavors were tasty and I can see alternating between them, I would probably choose the kale and apple and the cocoa and beet on a regular basis, even though I am not a kale-head. I would probably choose to Phyter bars with my morning coffee instead of some sort of morning pastry or bagel with something. Though small, I found them to satiate my hunger nicely.
The bars have a shelf life of about six months in the refrigerator, up to one year in the freezer, and up to a week after being removed from the fridge. I ate all mine within a couple of hours of removing them from the fridge because I wanted to experience the flavors at their maximum, though I imagine some people would enjoy eating them straight from the freezer – just as some people like to eat frozen Snickers – for a different texture experience though that would seriously mute the flavors. Because of their size they thaw quickly (that I did try), and so I can see taking one from the freezer and putting it in my bag before leaving for work in the morning and having it as a treat I would look forward to after an equally-virtuous salad for lunch.
One aspect I am not sure I like is they need to be shipped cold, which means gel packs and the like – a lot of excess packing and packaging. That said, I would order in bulk and freeze, which would reduce that aspect of shipping (and shipping is free with larger orders).
As of this writing, there is no retail distribution within 320km (200m) of where I live so ordering online is going to be the way most people will be able to get them right now. They are also not inexpensive. A sample case of five bars runs $15 plus shipping and the shopping cart only allows you to order one at a time. The regular price is $4.80/bar in quantities of either 10 or 20. It's worth ordering at least the sample box to try all of the flavors to see if they are right for you.
For someone looking for a clean-label, plant-based, snack or meal replacement/enhancement bar that does not pretend to be anything other than what it is, Phyter bars are a tasty option you can feel good eating and good about eating. Though not cheap on their own they could be a good substitute for less-healthy food choices that are about the same cost and so, on balance, could easily fit within most budgets.
My review is based on a sample box of one-each of the five available favors which I did not pay for. I did not receive cash or any other incentive that might have influenced this review.